We'll just skip over the stupid memes and the monkey poo flinging and get the substance of a Helsen's post. He implies that I am exceptional in in that I need to be "forced to care" about something that I don't feel a connection to. But I think this is the nature of modern humanity. Genocide, war, rape, racism, sexism, environmental desecration, etc. etc. -- all of these are evidence that we human beings need to be forced to treat others well, unless we first feel a connection to them. (In fact, the sheer nastiness of Helsen's post is also evidence of this.)
Helsen argues that the gods are “objective, discrete, and separate beings”. I’ve explained in Part 1 and in my original post about "The Disenchantment of Hard Polytheism", why the “separate and distinct” language is problematic. More recently, I’ve written about how we confuse the question of the objective existence of the gods and the question of their subjective meaning — as if something must objectively exist for it to have subjective meaning. If you want to read more on those issues, follow the links above.
"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?"
I love Chaos Gods. They fill my life with hugely beneficial synchronicity, if I only open to these supposedly chance occurrences, instead of stubbornly digging in my heels. (Yeah, I know Chaos Gods are portrayed as all evil and dangerous, but that's a lie. Well, some Chaos Gods are evil, but I don't work with them.)
I felt moved to write about this Divine chaotic kindness because of a recent event. It dazzled me so much that I have to share my delight—or I'm going to burst—in how beautifully and intricately the World Tree weaves to embrace me in its branches constantly.
Every so often, the devotional polytheistic community comes up with a new way to try to distinguish gods from archetypes. In the past, terms like "real", "literal", or "separate" have been emphasized. Now it's "agents". The gods have agency while archetypes do not -- so the argument goes.
One of the most visible exponents of this idea has been Morpheus Ravenna. Morpheus has written two essays -- here and here -- about this issue, and more recently delivered the keynote speech at the Many Gods West polytheist conference: "Deep Polytheism: On the Agency and Sovereignty of the Gods" (which I urge you to read in its entirety). Morpheus argues that "if your Gods are real to you, treat Them like beings with agency." Agency, she says, is "the capacity of an entity to act ... something like will." This, she says, is what makes gods distinct from archetypes. And, on this point, I have to disagree with her.
This is the third in a series of posts in which I discuss four terms that polytheists use to distinguish gods from archetypes: "real", "literal", "separate", and "agents". In this post, I want to address the position the the polytheistic gods are separate from us in a way that archetypes are not.